Hello Mama! Getting ready for your planned C-Section? Or, already had one and wondering what you need for the best and fastest recovery? Here are 8 C-Section Hospital Essentials that will make your hospital stay and recovery smoother post-Cesarean! Scroll to the bottom for a bullet point list, and easy access to all the items on Amazon. And don’t forget to download your free, comprehensive C-Section Hospital Bag Checklist! It will bring clarity and simplification for what you actually need to take to the hospital. The checklist covers Mom, Baby, and even Daddy.
**disclosure** This post may contain affiliate links. This means that, at no added cost to you, I may receive compensation for products you purchase through links found on my blog. (Thank you, thank you!) This in no way affects the products I recommend (I only recommend the best)!**
**disclaimer** I am not a medical professional, so please consult your physician before attempting any of these suggestions. Use your best judgment. What worked for me may not work for you. Each body is different and unique. Do what you feel is best at your own risk. I am not liable for any consequences. I am a blogger. This is a blog meant to provide opinions, suggestions, and information. I am human and make mistakes, so information may not be 100% complete or accurate.
1. Get Your Meds
Don’t be afraid of the meds. I was nervous for Percocet since we hear so many opioid addiction horror stories. But you really only need it for a week or two, and then you stop. No worries. Actually, I read an article that said now apparently some hospitals in Ohio and such are moving away from prescribing opioids to postpartum women. They found too many mothers were still on them a year later, even after pain from the surgery had long gone. But I still stand by opioids being helpful for a week or two. Something is probably terribly wrong if you feel the need to use them longer. And, I wonder how many of those mothers were already addicted to opioids before their C-Sections.
I believe the best course of action is to follow the prescribed dose, and don’t wait for the pain to get so unbearable you actually feel the effects of the drug. Just keep the pain away, and ease off of them after a week.
Don’t think meds won’t help…
I was apprehensive and doubtful the pain medications even did anything until the nurses accidentally skipped a dose. So I went 8 hours without Percocet instead of the prescribed 4. I couldn’t get out of bed, and I felt like I was dying if I tried to simply walk to the bathroom. The nurses realized their mistake at the next medicine time, and WOW. I felt SO much better when the meds kicked in. I could walk to the bathroom with comparative ease.
After that, I learned to have a healthy respect and appreciation for pain medications. So yeah. Just take your meds and keep up with the doses for at least a week (usually Percocet and stool softeners every 4 hours, Motrin every 8, or whatever your doctor tells you). You can decide whether to wake up and take them overnight. If I woke up to breastfeed and felt awful enough, I would take them at night at home. But generally, after the first few days at home, I could go overnight without them.
I truly feel the medications I was prescribed not only contributed to comfort levels, but they actually sped up my recovery. Use your best judgment and follow your intuition.
Are pain meds safe while breastfeeding??
Yes, all your prescribed medications are safe while breastfeeding. The same nurses that help you with latching and breastfeeding tips also hand you the meds to take.
I wanted to take as few medications as possible while breastfeeding because we can never be too sure what the effects to Baby will be, but after my missed dose fiasco I realized that my kids and babies would appreciate having a semi-functional, happier mother- instead of a completely miserable, inoperable one. So I handed my fears to the Lord, asked Him to bless and protect my children, and did what I believed He wanted for my family.
Get your prescriptions at your earliest convenience.
To make your recovery easier, especially if your hospital does not have a pharmacy (my first one didn’t), get your prescribed pain pills on the way home from the hospital. We had them send the prescriptions to a Walgreens that was directly en route. You can even specify a different pickup person than yourself to the pharmacy and just send your husband in to pick them up while you sit in the car with Baby.
If your hospital does have a pharmacy, just process it through there. It makes your life SO much easier and is one less thing you’ll have to worry about later. However, consider declining any stool softeners. Over the counter are just fine, and much cheaper.
Find the 8 C-Section Hospital Essentials on Amazon!
Don’t forget to take the stool softeners and prenatal vitamins.
The pain meds and birth, in general, makes you constipated (in addition to other factors we discuss below)- so make sure you have stool softeners. But, don’t go overboard with buying stool softeners. With baby #1 we got a container with 120 capsules at Walgreens- I only used, like 28 of them. Then with Baby #2 we forgot to cancel our stool softener prescription before they delivered our meds in the hospital, so that was another 60 pills. Now we have stool softeners up the wazoo we will probably never use. So a nice little 30-pack like the one pictured below should suffice.
Your body lost a lot of blood and is using up a ton of nutrients trying to heal and provide milk for your baby, so make sure you keep taking your daily prenatal vitamins. And eat enough calories and protein. Did you know you need more calories while breastfeeding than while pregnant?? I didn’t find out until 9 months after my second was born! After learning that, I felt no guilt while eating as much or more as my 6’2″ husband.
2. Ice-Packs are Heavenly
Keep ice-packs on your incision. You can request a reusable one you can refill with ice, but those tended to leak for me. My favorites were the disposable perineum (pad) ice-packs! They are like disposable ice-packs you crack and shake, but they have a little absorbent pad on one side of them. They are meant to be used as postpartum pads to catch postpartum bleeding, but after my C-Sections, my incision hurt way worse than my crotch, so I just flipped the pad over to the unpadded side and relished the quick cold on my tummy. Definitely a C-Section hospital essential I wouldn’t skip.
Tip: The pad ice-packs can be stuck back in your freezer at home and reused. I was so sad when I ran out, and I discovered this trick on my last pad 🙁
I recently found out they sell them on Amazon!! So definitely stock up on these beauties! (And I found out there are legit reusable ones! *What??* Totally buying some for next time! C-Section or not!)
I prefer the soft narrow pad ice-pack over a normal ice-pack because normal ice-packs have firmer structures (harder plastic) and may not cover the entire scar and surrounding sore areas. The pad ice-packs are soft, super flexible, and long- so they cover all the pain points, without hitting unnecessary parts and freezing your entire midsection.
3. Belly band/corset
What do you keep your ice packs in place with and your incision from seeming to want to burst open at the slightest movement? A belly band! The hospital gave me a belly band with my first, but not with my second. I had ordered another one online after my first, so it was fine. I liked having two because some blood might occasionally rub onto the band. Therefore, when you have two bands, you can wash one while wearing the other.
The pictures always show the women wearing it around their waistline, not their hips, but this means the bottom of the band is hitting right up against your incision- which is not comfortable. So definitely position your belly band a little lower, with the middle-ish area covering your incision. This is why I do not advocate for the ones that have clearly defined or even boned curves in them. They don’t seem conducive to holding an ice pack on without edges jutting out and bunching up everywhere.
This is the one I bought, but I’m thinking of getting the one below for next time. The mesh side thingies were kind of useless and just added bulk.
Just like vaginal deliveries, get some high waisted Granny panties if you don’t want to wear the hospital-provided mesh ones. I loved the hospital provided mesh ones, because if I got blood on them, or pus, or anything, then they went straight into the trash with no guilt. My hospital had 2 kinds- crappy fish-net ones, that had a stitch/thread in them that rubbed right up against my incision! OUCH! And some super soft, incredibly comfortable tightly knitted ones, that had higher waistlines, and no infuriating tight stitch right on the incision. These were even able to go through the wash a few times! After I ran out of all the good ones, I appreciated my 3-sizes too big 9 pack of high-waisted Granny panties. They are big enough to hold giant maxi pads in them, and they stay out of the way of the incision.
Yes, even after a C-Section you need the giant monster pads. You did deliver a baby. So your uterus is still bleeding.
5. Maternity Clothes or a Dress
Pack maternity clothes or a nursing-friendly dress for your going home outfit. Some crazy women we don’t associate with (jk) can prance their way home in their pre-pregnancy clothes, but seriously. Don’t plan on that. Your belly will probably still look 5-7 months pregnant. You might also still be swollen from the IV medications and surgery. Plus, you don’t want anything rubbing up against your incision, and you might want to ride home with an ice pack in your belly band. Especially if you have to drive over train tracks, pot holes, speed bumps, or anything else that will make you brace yourself. Save yourself a lot of pain (physical & emotional) and just get yourself a gorgeous, loose, flowy, breastfeeding friendly outfit to go home in.
Probiotic yogurt and probiotic pills are essential (take your own so you don’t have to pay for the hospital’s). You might not be allowed to eat yogurt if you are on a clear fluid diet (usually a day or two after your C-Section), but if you are on a full fluid diet (which allows dairy), then you can consume yogurt. SO important for replenishing your and baby’s gut flora after all those antibiotics and meds. On that note, you won’t be allowed to eat solid food until you pass gas. So pray for farts to come.
7. Sterile Adhesive Abdominal Pads
Ask for sterile 5×9 abdominal pads at the hospital, or buy your own in advance. Many C-Section Moms online said these pads helped with being able to wear normal clothes sooner. They just stuck the pad to their clothes, and it reduced the friction and softened the edges.
They also liked having them in case they bled or seeped pus. I usually just used the padded ice-packs in the beginning, but I think these would be a great transition from ice-pack to nothing. (Let’s be honest though, the transition takes months. I seriously just never stop wearing maternity pants until 1-2 years after the baby. But then I get pregnant again, so out comes the maternity clothes again).
8. Water-proof Absorbent Bed Pads
Water-proof bed pads help with blood pouring out of your vagina, milk pouring out of your boobs, and anything else streaming out of your newborn. On my last day in the hospital, I grabbed all the bed pads the hospital had in the cupboards in my hospital room (yes, you can go through those cabinets- you are in fact paying for them anyway).
I slept with one under my bum and one under my chest for the first few weeks until my milk regulated and my vagina stopped bleeding so profusely. This really helped tone down the insane amounts of laundry we had with my first from blood and milk leaks. With my first, I slept on a towel, but even then sometimes I leaked milk so bad it seeped onto the sheets and we had to change our king-sized bed sheets every day. I learned my lesson for my second and took advantage of the hospital’s convenient stash.
I would just reuse them (sleep) until they got fluid on them, then boom, new bed pad. There are some reusable water-proof bed pad options out there (meant for bed-wetting children), which I *really* wanted, but they are expensive. The disposable absorbent bed pads are much more affordable (“free” if you get them from the hospital).
Recap of the 8 C-Section Hospital Essentials
Now you know that for a smoother Cesarean recovery you need to take your pain medications, prenatals, and probiotics with gusto. Additionally, to reduce sharp pains that come with unexpected movements (sneezing, coughing, laughing), keep your incision wrapped up in a belly band with an ice-pack tucked inside. Finally, keep the expectations for your post-partum body realistic by packing a comfortable going-home maternity outfit, complete with high-waisted underwear and adhesive pads if necessary. And give yourself less laundry to deal with by sleeping on water-proof absorbent bed pads.
Here’s a handy little list:
- Pain Medications (with Stool Softeners & Prenatal Vitamins)
- Ice-Packs (Perineum size preferred)
- Postpartum Belly Band (don’t get a fitted if you don’t want to deal with bunching)
- High-Waisted Underwear (go for cheap & crappy for
- Maternity Clothes/Dress
- Adhesive Abdominal Pads
- Disposable Absorbent Waterproof Bed Pads
Find the 8 C-Section Hospital Essentials on Amazon
What Do You Consider a Post- C-Section Hospital Essential?
Let me know what you couldn’t live without after your C-Section in the comments below!
Any thoughts on the 8 C-Section Hospital Essentials? Want to collaborate on future posts or projects? Have an incredible C-Section story or lesson you want to share and want to be interviewed and featured on my upcoming podcast “All Things C-Section”? I would love to hear from you! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org